Mohand Marg, known colloquially in Kashmiri as Mohana Marg is a meadow ground that lies ensconced in the mountains about 20 Kilometres along the road to Ladhak in north of Srinagar. From the road to Ladhak near Manigam, a steep path winds up through many fields and hills to open out across into a wide meadow that gives the view of Sindh Valley on one side and the Valley of Kashmir on the other. Girdled by massive snow peaked mountains skirted by pine trees the meadow gets filled with flowers in the summer season.
As a man, Aurel Stein loved solitude and had a sort of habit to retreat to mountains in hot summer months and thus it was no surprise that he chanced in 1894 to locate Mohand Marg in Kashmir as his summer abode there.
“Old retainers of all sorts have come to greet me back and I was glad to find so many of my old acquaintances still alive. It is a satisfaction to be able to do something for those who need it like Rustom Pohul, the withered queered shepherd who first met me on Mohand Marg in 1894 and was a hardy old plant then.” - Aurel Stein.
(in a letter dated May 20, 1912, by Aurel Stein to Fred Andrews) Stein Mss 40, Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Once located Stein fell in love with the spot. The Marg gave Stein reassurance of timeless and unchanging strengths and throughout his life prided himself on his unfettered life there in a tent. Mohand Marg held the unique charms and keys to his inner and outer life. So fascinated was he with this remote mountain site that he called it as ‘my own’ or ‘my kingdom’. The Marg was his true and spiritual home. For him it was a site from the paradise, and he always longed to return to the spot. Here he enjoyed the breathtaking views and breathed the pine-scented air which he called as “the avalanche perfume” The magic of the place effected him so strongly that in spite of being a loner he never ever felt lonely here and would recall, “I love to feel in camp unencumbered with my style of existence.” He even sometimes used week health as a reason why he should return to Marg from wherever he was.
As a result of having spent many years of life in camp at the Marg and having been accustomed to its charms, Stein found it difficult to work any where else with same ease. He found it difficult to give proper attention to his written reports of his expeditions as long as he stayed away from the Marg. And when situations demanded during travels to other places across the world, he made every effort to search for locations that in some ways looked nearly as similar as possible to the scenic Mohand Marg. Throughout his life, Stein often mentioned about the immense solace he derived from this glorious spot where he felt most comfortable.